“AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO A DEAR FRIEND” 3 John
INTRO – Folks, it’s time for some GOOD NEWS! Can I get an “Amen”? I’m tired of the constant barrage of bad news that has been happening in recent days. And while we can’t stop some of the bad things from happening, & we definitely need to be praying for those affected by some of the tragic events that have impacted our nation & world over the last few months, it’s simply time for some GOOD NEWS, & we, of all people, have the GREATEST Good News that anyone can know. And that Good News is this:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
One of our church members sent me a text Thu. after she & talked Wed. night at Refresh when she shared w/ me that she was in the middle of a fast to seek the Lord in a greater way (it’s ok to tell others you are fasting as long as you aren’t bragging & boasting about it). This is what she texted to me on Thu.:
“Just wanted to share about my fast w/ you. I’m so excited! I am in 43 hours & will complete it tomorrow at 5PM. During my prayer time, I had been asking the Lord to please put me in the path of someone who needed to hear about His love & mercy, just one person. Today on my lunch break, I took my Bible outside & was reading. A young lady came out & was sitting, eating her lunch. I noticed she kept watching me. I know who she is, but don’t really know her. I finally said, “Hey, it’s a really nice day to be sitting out here.” She said, “Yeah, just wanted to take in some quiet time.” Well, she sat there a few more minutes, then started to talk to me about reading my Bible, & then about my faith bracelet…As we talked, she started tearing up, so then I started to tear up, & I’m so excited that she accepted Christ sitting outside sitting on a picnic bench! So thankful for answered prayers for her salvation, & that I still have 29 more hours! What an awesome day!”
I want to invite anyone in this place who needs to be saved today to call out to the Lord right now & give your life to Him!
PRAYER FOR SALVATION
Let’s look at 3 John & talk about how awesome our faith in Jesus is today, whether you just accepted Him into your heart, or whether you did that 40 years ago! It’s such a wonderful thing to know Jesus as your Savior & Lord! It’s such a wonderful thing to be connected to His Body, His FAMILY, the Church. Our faith is an “EACH OTHER” faith. It’s a PERSONAL faith, AND it’s an “EACH OTHER” faith. Here are 7 “each other” statements about our faith:
We Love Each Other – “Beloved” – v. 1, 2, 5 – John said that about his friend, Gaius: “whom I love in the truth.” In other words, “I truly love you, Gaius!” This is the foundation of it all. It all starts w/ our love for God & our love for each other. Greek word for “beloved” is agapetos – “very dear, a dear friend, a loved one.”
We Pray for Each Other – v. 2 – Look at what a dear Christian friend does when he truly loves the way God wants him to love: He prays for his dear friend. He prays for:
- Physical health – “…that you may be in good health…” – See James 5:13-16
- Spiritual health – “…as it goes well w/ your soul.” – I think about what Jesus prayed for us in John 17:15 – “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.”
So, how IS your prayer life? What do you do to stay consistent? Let me give you these suggestions:
- Renew your commitment to prayer
- Write down the names of those you need to pray for – high tech or low tech – doesn’t matter – just do something to help you be more consistent & faithful in praying for each other.
- Realize that it doesn’t matter how much you do or don’t know about a person’s situation – just pray for them (sometimes just their name)
- Respond immediately when someone needs prayer – Stop & pray for them right then, if possible (lady in convenience store in Columbia)
- Remember that this is one of the most important things you can do, so don’t stop.
We Rejoice w/ Each Other – v. 3-4 – Listen, Church, we need to be rejoicing w/ each other as we see each other growing in our love for the Lord, in our passion for the Lord, in our service to the Lord! That’s why I got so excited about the text message that I got Thu from that church member! I rejoiced w/ her that God had used her in such a wonderful way, that she had placed herself in a spiritual position to hear from Him & respond in obedience! I rejoiced w/ Blake!
Too many times we let the enemy infect our hearts w/ jealousy & envy & pride. Those things slam the door on our ability to rejoice w/ someone else when God is at work in their lives.
We Support Each Other – v. 5-8 – John is encouraging Gaius to support the work of itinerant Christian workers, missionaries who were traveling around, sharing the Gospel.
Certainly, we need to do the same thing. In fact, we are doing that RIGHT NOW w/ our team that is in New Orleans helping Matthew Delaughter. We support him & other missionaries who are faithfully sharing the Gospel all over the world. That’s why YOUR tithes & offerings are SO important!
But we also need to support each other in other ways, as well.
We Correct Each Other – v. 9-10 – Sometimes, there are times when we have to lovingly confront each other when we’ve wandered away from the Lord, as, apparently, Diotrephes had done.
How sad it is when we just let our brothers & sisters drift away from the Lord into the enemy’s territory, & we do nothing about it! Our correction must not be heavy-handed, judgmental, & condemnatory, but it must happen. Many times that’s why we shy away from any type of correction in the life of another brother or sister in Christ. “That’s none of my business.” “They’ll think I’m judging them.” “I might hurt their feelings.” So, we just let them go. And their lives come apart at the seams, which affects all of us. So sad. What would you think about a soldier who knew where an enemy minefield was, & just let one of his buddies just wander off into that minefield w/out saying anything to him or trying to stop him? We often do that very thing in the Church.
We Encourage Each Other – v. 11-12 – Reminds me of what the writer of Hebrews said in Heb. 10:24-25 – “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds…”
We Want to Be w/ Each Other – v. 13-15 – Last Sunday, talked about going on mission trips. Love going, love serving, love telling folks about Jesus. But one of my favorite things is coming off the plane when we’ve arrived back home, walking down the corridor, headed toward my waiting family. Love that moment when I catch the first glimpse of Vicki, or one of my kids or grandkids! Never gets old! Always brings a tear to my eye & a lump in my throat! Why? B/c I want to be w/ them b/c I love them so much!
There’s just something extra special about the relationships & the connection that we have w/ each other in the Body of Christ. John couldn’t wait to see his friend, Gaius, & the others in the church. He wanted to be w/ them. And, if you & I are in right relationship w/ God & w/ each other, we will want to be w/ each other, too!
CONCLUSION – So, there you have 7 “each other” statements about our faith. How are you doing in the “each other” aspect of your faith?